need help with the sentence

He told me that he will/would visit them when he returns/returned from China

I think the correct variant is:

He told me that he would visit them when he returns from China

The fist part, I believe, is future in the past, but I'm not certain about the last part (he returns from China) , probably bc can't find grammar explanation.

Thanks in advance for your answers


The correct answer is:

He told me that he would visit them when he returns or returned from China

He would visit them is future in the past.

When he returns is real future.

When he returned past tense referring to future time.

So I think both are possible and correct.

  • coould you please clarify the difference between the "'real future'' and ''referring to future time''? is the difference important, depends on the context or returns and returned are just interchangable? – NadinSh Oct 21 '19 at 11:37
  • and let me continue: if we want to use ''past tense referring to future time", so why not "would return" as it's about the sequence of tenses? – NadinSh Oct 21 '19 at 11:48
  • @ Ronald Sole.I hope you answer this question – successive suspension Oct 21 '19 at 14:25

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